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Showing posts with label German. Show all posts
Showing posts with label German. Show all posts

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Munich: Duck & Schnitzel @ Wirtshaus Zum Straubinger, Blumenstraße

Germany is a country known for its beer, football, precision engineering and really tall people.  But there is more to Germany than what meets the eyes.  A rich cultural heritage paired with modern influence has resulted in a diverse European landscape.  In the next few posts, I re-visit the sights and feeds that made me love this systematic country.

The amazing city centre was rebuilt after the bombing and is back better than ever.  The grand palace commands sweeping views through the man-made river at the front whilst its backyard was possibly one of the largest gardens I have ever seen.  It was safe to say, that Munich definitely wins my vote over Berlin any time.  After the long walk, it was time for another great meal with beer and Wirtshaus Zum Straubinger is one reliable option!  Remember to book or come early as the venue is not  big like your typical beerhall.

For me, I ordered the duck served with German dumpling known as knudel €15.50.

I am not sure why I had the duck craving when I was in Munich.  Even more surprising, the duck did not even look that amazing.  The duck did not boast the tantalising dark cherry red coloured skin like the Chinese duck roast do.  Neither did it have the multitude levels of Asian herbs and seasoning in the rub.  Yet, there was something warm and inviting  with the brownish duck thighs served to me.  Its sauce was slightly salty, the skin was soft but sported crisp edges.  It tasted really homely.  Thinking back, it was cooked very well too.  The flavour of the duck was not very gamey but every bit tender as one would expect a duck thigh to be. Yummy!

My colleague ordered the Schnitzel which was served with a side of potatoes €12.50.

When I had the Schnitzel with the berry sauce, it was instantly pleasing.  You first get a crisp bite that is salty, but at the same time not too salty. Courtesy of the berry sauce, my mouth had that ripeness that brought the whole dish together.  This really cuts through the oily flavours that deep-fried food normally pack.  Crispy all round, these golden brown delights were yummy.  But between my colleague and I, we reckon it could be a lot more crisp!  Fortunately, the Schnitzels were juicy and not overcooked till dry.  The potatoes cooked with caramelised onions were faultless and I had a hard time trying to not pack up all those carbs.  

The Wirtshaus Zum Straubinger was a TripAdvisor recommendation and I have to say that the public got it right this time.  A strong line up of traditional Bavarian dishes paired with good cooking definitely puts this place at the very top of my trip in Germany for sure.  This explains how this decent sized beerhall was filled with diners before we arrived and even more packed when we left.  Thankfully enough, I still had a very satisfying meal at the bar and the reviews surely did not disappoint.  As mentioned earlier, remember to make a booking as people who came in without one at 8pm got turned away.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Berlin: Currywurst at Curry 36 and Kebabs & Doners at Mustafas!

Germany is a country known for its beer, football, precision engineering and really tall people.  But there is more to Germany than what meets the eyes.  A rich cultural heritage paired with modern influence has resulted in a diverse European landscape.  In the next few posts, I re-visit the sights and feeds that made me love this systematic country.

Street food culture is all over Europe and Berlin has one that is worth talking about.  This is a tale of two kiosks less than 100 feet apart with a cult following and thousands of Facebook check-ins.  Recommended by my colleague’s AirBNB host, I went to the famous Curry 36 and Mustafa Gemüse Kebab.

Curry 36 serves the best Currywurst in Berlin and the hungry crowd enjoying piping hot Currywurst in the subzero weather is a testament to its fame.  So what is a Currywurst you might ask?  

Well, if you are expecting to see real curry, you are going to be disappointed.  Currywurst is essentially Berlin’s answer to making the meaty bratwurst even better; that is by topping them with a curry-infused ketchup and to finish, an extra sprinkle of curry powder with a side of chips.  True curry aficionados would frown at the sight of a Currywurst, but the flavours are actually pretty sublime thanks to the umami from the curried-ketchup that when paired with bratwurst has an undeniable chemistry.  Sure it was not life changing in anyway but its was yummy!

The queue at Mustafas is never shorter than 45 minutes be it day, or night.  

The Kebab:
The doner and kebabs at Mustafa Gemüse Kebab are legendary for a good reason.  Its attention to detail like the perfectly sweet caramelised vegetables inside as well as a finish of crumbled feta is a rarity when kebabs are often a food to go with little love put into it.  Secondly was their ridiculously juicy chicken slices.  If you have had a Doner by the road side stall in Istanbul you would totally understand the unfortunately dry chicken in the doners they serve!!  


Having both Curry 36 and Mustafa Gemüse Kebab so close to each other is a blessing!  If you are out late and want a great bite, I would look no further.  The combination of Currywurst and juicy Doners were sensational. But be warned that the 45 minute wait for a Doner is a bloody vibe killer.  Add the subzero temperature and its starts to sound ridiculous.  Fortunately, there is usually no queue at Curry 36 due to the quick turnover.  So why not enjoy a Currywurst while standing in line?  It sure distracts the mind from the cold and queue!  Would I recommend Mustafas despite the wait?  Well it really depends on how you view food!  If you queue in anticipation of a poached chicken, grilled to finished, drizzled with truffle oil, and finished with a sea-urchin infused aioli, then stay far.  It is far from fine dining but I know a good kebab when I see one ;)! So yes I would return to Mustafas!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bites: Elmars @ Swan Valley.

It has been a lengthy discussion for weeks if not months for a date that all of us could go to Elmar’s together.  Despite all the clashes of schedules, we managed a time slot last Saturday.  Upon our arrival, we were happy to see a crowded lot filling both the outdoor and indoor dining area.  However, it was quite a turn off when we were asked to sit in the bar area because we did not make a reservation when just a few days ago I was told that I did not need to make one.  The boastful waitress who insisted that Elmar’s is the busiest restaurant in the area did not help make us comfortable too.  Nevertheless, after complaining about the little comfort the bar area had, we were given proper seats! Phewh!!




The 7 of us decided to order a few dishes to share as we wanted to enjoy the different things Elmar’s had to offer.  Looking through the menu, one thing was clear about the Germans.  They loved their pork!  Luckily enough I do not have any problems with that except on one occasion where a tour organiser hilariously thought I was a Muslim.  I am tanned OK? ahaha. 


Too get the best of the German’s we had to try their specialties of course.  To start our meal, we ordered a few starters:


Elmar’s Cheesy garlic toast @ $8.90 for 3 pieces were a bit on the pricey side but served our tummies well! It was yummy and delicious in every bite!  However, I thought that the bread was a little dry and could be more moist in the middle.  But after having the garlic bread at Ikea, I decided otherwise and felt that the one at Elmar’s was more edible for sure >.<!!


Our next appetizer was probably the highlight compared to the rest :P!  The potato skin despite being the least eaten part of a potato was cooked to perfection! Golden, crisp and lightly salted, I cannot be more pleased! In fact, everyone was just as pleased!


(This picture was from TheMemoir)


As for our mains, we ordered the following:


Elmar’s Bratwurst Plat @ $36.90! A trio of Elmar’s Bratwurst - Grillbratwurst, Cheese Kransky and Coarse Bratwurst, on a bed of Potato Mash and Sauerkraut, with Crisp Garden Salad with a side of Mustard!  The sausages were delish and I thought that the middle Cheese Kransky one was really good.  Little bits of melted cheese tucked in it made these tiny morsels of food  really pleasant and a tad nostalgic considering cheese sausages were one of my brekkie foods when I was a kid back home!  And to be honest, I really dislike the Sauerkraut!  I think I have a lot of adapting to do!  Lastly, considering the price we have paid for 3 short sausages, I felt pretty ripped off for sure.  The value was somewhere but definitely not in the food.  The mash itself, oh god, it has definitely been made better at home before, if not many times!!


Nevertheless, the side of Fried Potatoes with Onion & Bacon (Bratkartoffeln) @ $9.90 did not disappoint!


Although onions and bacons were absent in the picture, it was still quite ok.  Not too salty but a good accompaniment compared to the Sauerkraut! lolx!


Even though we had a decent start to the meal, it was not until the Rolled Pork Belly @ $33.90 was served that I was finally satisfied! Even YiHeng though it was delicious!


Tender Pork Belly, Rolled with Honey Mustard Glaze and Elmar’s Kangaroo and Emu Chorizo, Served atop Fried Garlic Zucchini with Rosemary Potato, Beer Mustard Sauce and Homemade Red Onion Confit!  While every thing on the plate was almost flawless, I felt that the sauce somehow dragged the entire dish down.  The defect was not major, but it just felt lacking.  Oh, and do not be worried about the kangaroo and emu chorizo as it turned out odourless with a peppery taste!


Elmar’s Specialty the Pork Shank (Schweinehaxe) @ $42.90 was meant to be the killa but turned out otherwise or hmm perhaps it did kill… our jaws.


Nothing needs to be explained here I would suppose? :P!  Pickled cabbage, with the onion and bacon potatoes. Hmmm ok and the much publicised German specialty, the pork knuckle.  It is a slow cooked and roasted pickled pork shank encased in a crunchy crackling.  To our dismay, everything about this dish did not satisfy.  Did the hype kill the dish?  Perhaps so!  The meet was tasteless, cracking was barely crispy and oh @.@!  The crackling took ages to chew and nobody actually liked it!  Fortunately, the side of mustard did add the much needed flavour missing from the meat!  I came home with a sore throat and aching wisdom tooth after having this =(!  5 days after and my tooth still aches now as I type this out ahhh!!!!


Surprisingly, sharing all the food made us quite full even though we did not order a main each!  While everyone decided to go to the Margaret River Chocolate factory, the little darling and I decided to end our meal here with a dessert.  Below is the dessert we ordered, the Crème Brulee @ $15.


Definitely not recommended.  The custard was rough, the layer of sugar was slightly thin but sufficed because the custard was no more than a centimetre thick.  Could have been smoother but otherwise..!  By the end of the dessert, I would have honestly preferred to do without it! $$ waster!!


Putting our cutleries down, we looked at each other and from our expressions, it was rather clear how we felt about our meal at Elmar’s.  I cannot say we certainty that the food served at Elmar’s is truly German or pseudo-German.  But what I can say is that Elmar’s is definitely not a restaurant where money is well spent.  Despite sharing our meals, those who chose to had dessert or beer paid something closer towards $30 which is quite pricey for the standard of food we were getting.  If it was good, perhaps a 50 dollars would have been worth it.  But not this time around.  One thing we have learnt well though, that is do not get your hopes up high just because the radio plays a restaurant’s commercial too often!



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